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Labour law

Labour law, comprising not only the Labour Act but also a number of other regulations, is one of the most important areas of trade union work, both within social dialogue and other forms of pressure vis-à-vis executive and legislative authorities, and in everyday work with trade union members to whom we provide our assistance in realization and protection of their rights, including representation in conflicts with employers.

Croatian Labour Act was adopted in 1995 (in force since 1 January 1996), and has since then been amended on several occasions. The most important amendments were made in 2009, when the new Labour Act was adopted (in force since 1 January 2010), harmonized with the EU acquis communautaire.

The UATUC legal experts follow and analyze the application of the Labour Act and other regulations, including the case-law, as well as various proposals of amendments to the Labour Act and other regulations put forward by the government and employers. Among main objectives of our work are fight against lowering the existing level of workers’ rights, and identifying – if possible through dialogue with employers and the government – legal solutions that will improve rights of workers in Croatia, and enable more efficient realization of existing rights in practice.

Although Croatian legislation guarantees protection of workers’ rights, in practice, however, many of them are violated on a daily basis. Croatian workers are hesitant to demand protection of their rights before a court, due to long duration of court proceedings (including also frequent cases of statute of limitations) as well as due to problems with implementing judgments in practice (due to long duration of proceedings, it often happens that an employer goes bankrupt and ceases to operate before the final judgement). Efficient protection of statutory guaranteed rights, including those arising from employment relationship, is impossible without efficient and independent judiciary. Hence, one of the basic principles of our work is advocating the rule of law for all citizens, consistent application of laws and reasonable length of court proceedings. UATUC also advocates the introduction of specialized labour courts, and we managed to partially achieve this objective with the establishment of the Municipal Labour Court in Zagreb, which started with work on 1 January 2012, although so far there have been no indications that labour courts will be established in other parts of Croatia.